Wednesday, December 14, 2005

a christmas without irony

so now i am sitting here wondering why christmas according to the Pogues, from a land where the only Christmas miracle is Shane MacGowan's continuing existence, is so totally bringing me down. i decided to make a concerted effort to wrest the image of "christmas eve in the drunk tank" from my mind by revisiting some of my old favorites. first, i downloaded a few songs. then, i played them back at "ashamed" volume, gradually increasing that volume in increments until i find myself at this moment, sitting at my desk listening to Wham! at full volume.

with no trace of irony, mind you.

isn't "Last Christmas" a great song? isn't it?

i remember being about 8 years old, listening to this song over and over on my (enormous) walkman and imagining how i would one day take part in the great and glamorous euro-style christmas celebration that Wham was offering me. how i aspired, as a child, to spend the holidays at some glitzy resort in the swiss alps, drinking champagne and decorating the tree and ministering to poor George Michael's guilty feet. there would be sleigh-rides and shoulder-pads aplenty. (it may be evident to you by now that had i been born a boy, i would most certainly have been gay, and, unbeknowst to me at the time, much more likely to capture George Michael's heart). but i think that all this romanticizing of euro-trash was only fully realized with the emergence of what has become my favorite christmas tune:

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" by BandAid. Leaving aside the decidedly tepid lyrics and the fact that i'm guessing, no, they didn't know it was christmas in ethiopia, like, ever, this song is a true classic. for me, the apex of glamour was, and still is, to be honest, the british pop-star circa 1984. listening to this song today make me shiver. all my old favorites are there: boy george! bono! simon lebon!simon lebon! and all those taylors from duran duran! and nick rhodes! sting, before he sold out! sara and karen from bananarama! the thickly-brogued lads from big country! BIG COUNTRY! george michael! david bowie! the guy from spandau ballet! a bunch of people with british accents too thick to decipher! i do not, however, think that shane macgowan was present.

and Bob Geldof. thank you, Bob Geldof, thank you. then when they break into that "feed the world" chorus, so heartfelt, so sparkly, so non-american... i watched the video as though scrutinizing evidence. and now i wonder: how did my vision of the world start as a 9-year-old idolizing good-doing british pop-stars and descend in the ensuing 21 years to consist of "you're a drunk, you're a punk, you're an old slut on junk"? a mere decade ago my life's dream was to somehow get to london or st moritz and pad around cheerfully on plush white carpet offering simon lebon more eggnog, all the while clad in calvin klein jeans and blue eyeshadow, conspicuosly highlighted hair in a jaunty side-ponytail.

it could be worse, i suppose. look where boy george ended up.

a side note: my other music-induced childhood christmas fantasy? thanks to joan baez and her christmas album, which entered my life via my mom's record player circa "the beginning of time," i also envisioned the ideal christmas to take place in an isolated farmhouse somewhere (probably the black forest, now that i think about it) where my family and i did things like baked cookies with white icing, fed the animals in the barn, and made igloo-lanterns out of snow. i would have been accessorizing with a fur muff, no doubt.

although i have grown to love the cardboard creche. (whispered, in voice of George Michael: "merry christmas.")


Blogger kfd313 said...

Shouldn't you be writing a paper? Wait.. shouldn't I???

8:02 PM  

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